Having been in this industry for over 18 years now, I think I can confidently say that I have a vast amount of knowledge that pretty much anyone can benefit from.
Yet somehow with the rise of so many online businesses out there, it still never ceases to amaze me that the most basic of knowledge is so often the LEAST known by business owners.
Take keyword research for example….
I really don’t know what it is about keyword research that entrepreneurs (and even some marketers) resist.
I myself get all kinds of nerded out and in love with the multitude of layers of intelligence it offers.
From the quantitative scientific proof and validation; to the qualitative psychology and power it offers – I am always overjoyed when given the go ahead from a client to start a keyword research campaign for them.
In my opinion it’s should not be a secret to anyone aiming to succeed in business that understanding your market is one of the greatest keys to success.
But the problem is, very few people care to spend the time to do it…despite the fact that it’s the foundation of a revenue generating web business.
But that’s not all keyword research is good for either. There is so much more to this area of digital marketing.
And if you care to take the time out to recognize it, I think you too would walk away a little more eager to spend more time on this.
So here are my Top 3 Reasons That Keyword Research Still Matters.
#1: Scientific Proof!
There is nothing that irks me more than when a business owner or senior level executive says they “don’t know” to basic questions like “who buys from you”, “where do they come from”, “why do they buy”, “what is their average purchase amount”, “what is their lifetime value” etc.
These are NOT pointless questions to ask and every business owner should know the answers to them. And you can actually find a LOT of these answers just by looking at your keyword analytics.
Different from referring and direct visits – as those are usually coming to the site because they are prompted by someone else to do so….but Organic / SEARCH or even PAID traffic – that is VERY telling traffic.
Now, not all of the answers can be found from ONE report. But the above image shows us a very quick summary of the top 10 highest revenue keywords in one month for a client of mine – and just digging into your money keyword report alone we can learn quite a bit.
Now, I know what you might be asking here….What if you aren’t there yet? What if you are just starting out? What if you don’t even have a website launched.
Can you find all these answers before you get started? Save yourself a lot of stress down the road?
The answer is, not with any certainty no, not unless you probe other companies in your industry and they divulge all their secrets OR you run some tests.
However what you can find is enough evidence to validate your assumptions. And if you find the right evidence, the chances of success are somewhere around the 80% range in my experience!
Not bad out of the gate right?
#2: Qualitative Validation.
One of the really cool things about keyword searches when they happen is that they are not always the same. Some people will search with the simplest of terms as possible (ie: one or two word statements), but others, they will search with 3+ words and in many of those cases they will also include very clear intentions.
Intention based keywords such as free, buy, store, book, ebook, course, program, system etc. those are quality keywords.
They tell you what kind of buyer audience you have or if they are a buyers audience at all.
The more popular the subject matter the more and more of these you will find too.
But there are other levels to qualitative validation through keyword research as well.
Let’s say for example you are in the health industry. You are a doctor and you happen to have a specialized for persons with fibromyalgia. Wouldn’t it be helpful for you to know what the MAJOR concerns are for your patients in order to better help them?
In this quick search, I’ve discovered all kinds of concerns. Pain being among the top of course, but there are also mentions of pain points, fatigue, suffering, and flare ups.
Some mentions of treatments, networks, support groups and even diet are also included here.
Combined with the qualitative data present, we know that this is an area where there are clear and deep concerns. If you know how to help alleviate those concerns, you get to take the driver’s seat in communication because you know what concerns your audience most.
You know your markets greatest needs or wants, you increase your chances of helping them.
#3 Search Engine Traffic
By now it shouldn’t be a secret to anyone trying to run a successful online business that Search Engine Traffic is some pretty valuable traffic!
In fact, according to a recent study done by Forrester Research comparing the European Nation to USA when it comes to Consumer Trust, search is trusted far more than social media is.
Now, I will openly admit that we “could” consider brand or product recommendations in social media a leader, but how many of your friends are actively out there pushing brands on their Facebook or Twitter Accounts?
That’s not their job, it’s a marketers job.
So, as a marketer (even of your own business) – your job is to deliver those recommendations and reviews through the channels that consumers trust most.
With search falling immediate behind recommendations and reviews, I think it’s safe to say this actually means SEARCH still rocks.
Besides, as of this moment, search engines are still keyword driven.
Even the internal search engines inside social media are keyword driven.
In fact Facebook recently started delivering BING results using it’s internal search. They’ve gone beyond their own internal fortress.
Essentially this means that you MAY want to be in the BING index as much as if not more than Google now…but it’s still too early to tell how that will pan out exactly.
(I personally dislike that feature.)
I want to search WITHIN Facebook when I search. I don’t want to BING OUT!
Now without going into too much more detail on how search works, which is better and why you want to make it a priority for your business…
Another point I feel necessary to make here is that despite all the excessive hype that Social Media is the new bee knee’s for marketing – it STILL has yet to be proven to myself and many of my colleagues that Social Media Traffic produces more revenues than search does.
YES – I said it: Search Traffic Still Produces Most Of The Revenues Online!
How do we know this, well all research groups that take the time to measure this have report this. In addition, my colleagues and I work with thousands of businesses globally combined and we see it every single day ourselves.
I think that alone is scientific enough proof for us to still consider Social Media a “lost leader” in the grand scheme of where we look to gain the highest ROI’s.
Yes, I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news on that one – because believe me, I too find that Social Media is way more fun to do, it is quite often easier to engage on and also in many businesses it is the source of the highest engagement. I also know that for many reasons that impact search – you actually do want to be using Social Media.
But here’s the truth that we must all accept for the time being….
ENGAGEMENT DOES NOT MEAN REVENUES!
When social does convert, it may convert higher because of the engagements themselves, but it doesn’t do it often enough to list it as a revenue leader yet, that is just a fact.
PLUS in my experience you have to work just as hard to get Social Media activity happening as you do search activity and yet Search still outperforms Social Media in most businesses!
So the moral of the story is this…
While we’ve only scratched the surface as to why Keywords still matter; we cannot deny that they do.
We have an obligation to the success of our business to learn just how valuable keywords are to us. Not just for these three reasons but also beyond them.
Keywords can impact your products, product packaging, product pricing, positioning, promotions, communications, content strategy and truth be told your revenues as well.
To learn more about the magic of keywords, please join me online June 10, June 17th and June 24th; pre-registration is required. http://keywordmagic.eventbrite.ca/
AUTHOR: With esteemed titles such as CEO, Author, Speaker, Mentor, Trainer and Instructor over the last 18 years it’s easy to understand why Cijaye DePradine has become a recognized leader in the Integrated Marketing arena. She specializes primarily in Online Traffic and Conversions and uses keyword research to guide much of her client successe.